7 alternative health and wellbeing treatments in Dubai
Reiki, cupping, sound massage and more – the What’s On team gets some TLC with these left-field restorative therapies…
We’ve come a long way since getting freaked out by Bikram yoga. That said, there are still some pretty kooky-sounding health and wellbeing treatments out there – but do any of them really work magic on the mind and body? We head in to investigate…
Reiki session by Dina Ghandour
The patient: Digital editor Sarah Gamboni
The concept: Reiki is a form of energy healing that has been practiced since the 1800s. The term ‘reiki’ comes from the Japanese words ‘rei’, meaning universal, and ‘ki’, or life force energy. During a hands-on healing session, the practitioner acts as a conduit for this energy, transferring the universe’s energy through their palms to certain areas of your body. It is said to have a detoxifying effect, to help people feel more balanced in a physical, emotional and spiritual sense.
The experience: The session takes place within a chic treatment room in The Greens. Dappled sunlight filters through the window and candles and soothing ambient music instantly put us at ease. After
a quick chat with Dina about our general well-being, we’re invited to lie down under a blanket on the massage table. Dina then begins by placing her hands on the crown of our head. Over the next hour, we slip into a semi-conscious state, as Dina slowly applies gentle pressure down the length of our body – generating warmth wherever she places her palms.
The well-being factor: This was a super-relaxing experience that enhanced our sense of mental clarity in the days that followed.
Wellness with Dina, Dhs600 for one session (60-75 minutes). @wellnesswithdina
Peter Hess Sound massage at The Hundred Wellness Centre
The patient: Head of content Laura Coughlin
The concept: While lying down, ‘singing bowls’ are placed on different parts of your body, then tapped gently with a felt mallet to create relaxing sound waves and a sense of inner harmony. This particular therapy, called Peter Hess sound-massage, is a modern method based on the ancient knowledge of the positive effects of sound. It follows that as modern day humans we operate on a high level frequency, where stressors and busy lives restrict healing. Sound massage helps to lower our frequency, therefore allowing our bodies to heal.
The experience: The therapy is conducted in a cosy room inside health sanctuary The Hundred Wellness Centre. During the next 60 minutes our experienced instructor, Antje Hosseinzadeh, places the bowls on our feet, lower back and in between our shoulder blades, and taps the bowls gently allowing the sound vibrations to wash over us like a wave. The process is repeated on our tummies, chest, and next to our ears. Almost instantly, we’re in a deep sleep, waking only from quick body jerks that jolt us back into consciousness. Whether it’s unblocked energy, or simply the effects of a deep sleep, your guess is as good as ours.
The well-being factor: It was a very effective method to relax quickly and deeply and we felt very calm and peaceful all day.
The Hundred Wellness Centre, Dhs500 for one session. Tel: (0)4 3447333. thehundred.ae/peter-hess-sound-massage
Tuning Fork Vibrational Therapy at Lee Wellness
The patient: Online reporter Elise Kerr
The concept: Lee Whyberd, a Welsh clairvoyant and tuning fork expert, channels vibrations by applying sound waves to the body. Two steel prongs are struck to provide sounds of varying pitch and hovered on either side of the head to restore a more-balanced, harmonious state of being. Lee can also open your chakra, redirect your internal energy, and read your aura to determine what is happening and will happen in your life.
The experience: After 10 minutes of the fork tuning, we begin to feel vibrations in our face. Shortly after the vibrations turn to huge waves whooshing from head to toe and back again. As a semi-sceptic beforehand this was an unexpected reaction. Lee additionally used his gift to accurately pinpoint things about our life that no one could’ve guessed, and predicted events that we’ll have to see if they come true. Following the session we felt energised, perhaps from the shock of what we were told.
The well-being factor: As we didn’t have anything specific to ‘heal’, we were promised that we would feel less sluggish after the session – so far, so good!
Lee Wellness, Barsha Heights, starts from Dhs367.50 for 30 mins. Tel: (0)4 572 5732. leewellness.ae
Tarot Card Reading at Illuminations Well-being Centre JLT
The patient: Online reporter Lauren Fletcher
The concept: The quest for a healthy mind is leading some people to turn to an unusual tool: a deck of tarot cards. They seem magical and mystical but they’re also a means to help people explore what’s going on in their lives. The tarot is a deck of 78 playing cards, each featuring pictures and symbols, which are said to reveal hidden truths and meanings.
The experience: Are the cards going to tell us our future? Will we walk away enlightened or dazed and confused? It’s soon clear that this isn’t about fortune-telling, but rather a way to help identify areas that may be troubling us. We placed our palms either side of the deck to ‘capture energy’, then shuffled the cards whilst asking an open-ended question. We chose ‘how can I find happiness?’. We placed the deck on the table, split them, fanned them, and then picked cards that we were drawn to. Then our guide talked to us about them, interpreting the cards and explaining how they’re relevant to our life. It’s very collaborative.
The well-being factor: Tarot cards have deeply spiritual meanings to some. To others, they are pieces of paper with images on them. And to others, they’re pieces of paper with images on them that can be used to better understand yourself, which it kind of what it did for us, if only a little bit.
409, Fortune Executive Towers, Cluster T, Jumeirah Lakes Towers, Dubai, Dhs350 (30 minutes). illuminations.ae
Dry Cupping at TCM Shanghai Medical Centre
The patient: Online reporter Miles Buckeridge
The concept: A practitioner heats the rim of a series of small glass jars and places them onto a patient’s back, a vacuum is created and the cups clamp to the skin. The glass pods are positioned over ‘qi’ points on the body, to unblock troublesome meridians. The idea is that the suction draws toxic fluids to the surface, allowing fresh, oxygenated blood to replace it.
The experience: The session begins following a brief consultation with TCM expert, Dr Xuqin Li. After establishing what ails us, it’s off to the treatment room for 30 minutes of face-down suction cupping. The sensation isn’t painful but it’s little a like somebody playing an aggressive round of speed chess on our back. The treatment can be used to combat a long list of conditions, but we’re here for a complaint that’s increasingly common, scroll-neck (from craning over our phone too much) and migraine. After the session, the tell-tale suction marks (the ladybird bruises you’ve probably seen on celebrity Instagram feeds) are immediately visible, but fade within a few days.
The well-being factor: We’ll let you know if we stay headache-free, but there was a pretty much instant impact on neck pain and tension.
Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) centre, Dhs300 for cupping session, Dhs400 for initial doctor consultation. Tel: (0)4 886 2862, @tcmshanghaidxb
Vibroacoustic Bodywork at Seva Experience
The patient: Junior online reporter Aarti Saundalkar
The concept: This healing treatment combines tuning forks, singing bowls, crystals, massage and other tools into one one-hour session. The aim is to reduce stress and help return the body to a balanced state by applying vibroacoustic frequencies of 136.1 (AKA the frequency of Om) and 432 hertz, to the different meridian points of the body.
The experience: You’re enveloped in calming smells and soothing sounds of nature inside Seva’s treatment room. As we lay down, our therapist played the monochord (single-stringed instrument). She put it on our stomach and began plucking the zither, its vibrations flowing through our body. She then moved tools, switching to singing bowls then tuning forks. The treatment ended with a massage.
The well-being factor: An all-in-one treatment that combined many alternative therapies. Whatever stress we had prior, melted away.
Seva Experience, Dhs600 (one hour). Tel: (0)56 534 2899. sevaexperience.com
Rolfing session with Andrew Rosenstock
The patient: Digital editor Sarah Gamboni
The concept: For those of us old enough to remember dial-up internet, this form of Rolfing has nothing to do with ‘rolling on the floor laughing’. Instead, it’s an awareness-based bodywork treatment that focuses on the connective tissue, or fascia, of the body. It’s based on a series of sessions and frameworks devised by Ida Rolf, designed to restore postural balance by aligning and integrating the body in gravity.
The experience: Certified Rolfer Andrew Rosenstock has set up shop in Seva Experience for February and March. To get the full benefits of Rolfing, you’re advised to sign up for 10 sessions. For our brief introduction, Andrew works on our shoulder blades, using visualisations and breathing techniques aimed at improving our posture.
The well-being factor: Our quick Rolfing session made us more aware of our posture, and the not-so-obvious interplay between different parts of the body.
Rolfing at Seva Experience, 1 session Dhs900, 10 sessions Dhs8,100. sevaexperience.com